Connecticut State Technology Extension Program
Lean Takes Medical Imaging Company to New Levels
Hologic, Inc. manufactures medical imaging systems is headquartered in Bedford, Massachusetts and has provided innovative solutions for women’s healthcare needs for more than 20 years. One of the company’s primary manufacturing facilities is located in Danbury, Connecticut and employs a team of 325 people, focused on developing state-of-the-art digital imaging technology for mammography applications. Danbury is the only Hologic plant that manufactures digital mammography equipment. Many employees are connected with the products they develop, whether through a family member, friend or colleague affected by breast cancer. Since the Danbury plant is frequently visited by customers, doctors, product technicians, and patients alike, employees are often able to see and meet the end users of the products they make.
Hologic began their lean journey with training sessions to broaden their understanding of lean processes and continuous improvement tools. However, sustaining continuous change and expanding on the basic foundations of lean proved to be challenging to their resources. With the focus on meeting the expanding revenue goals and new product introductions over the next few years, lean became less more of a necessity. Recent battles with long lead times (averaging 60-90 days), inefficient product flow and unmet inventory requirements led the company’s leadership to re-start and fully implement lean manufacturing within the Danbury plant. CONNSTEP, a NIST MEP affiliate, was brought in to help.
CONNSTEP worked with the Hologic team to establish best practices to improve product flow and streamline their shop floor layout. They addressed inefficiencies in how products were built and identified obstacles to lead time and inventory reduction. Ultimately, they aimed to drive product cost down to make their products more accessible to healthcare providers. The training took place as a companywide initiative to educate the Hologic workforce about implementing continuous improvement tools with the lean knowledge they already had. The team organized a Kaizen event to create a functional Kanban system and organize individual work cells as part of an overarching strategy to eliminate non-value added activities throughout the facility. They used Value Stream Mapping, 5S (sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain), spaghetti charts, and point-of-use storage, as well as cellular manufacturing as a model for improved workplace design. As a result of the training, Hologic’s Danbury plant successfully developed a new manufacturing floor layout, implementing a cellular design in favor of the batch/cell oriented process. Now all of the cells on the production floor can accommodate any of the Hologic product lines allowing flexibility in the facility’s mixed model operation.
- $80 million in projected new sales.
- 11% increase in total units produced.
- $280,000 in cost savings.
- 100% on-time shipment rate.
- 50% lead time reduction.
CONNSTEP is a valuable partner to Hologic, providing the expertise and ‘outside eyes’ everyone needs to keep their continuous improvement on track. We are now well-positioned on a dynamic growth path and look forward to a long-term relationship with CONNSTEP.
Greg Safarik, VP Manufacturing Operations